GERMAN Rail (DB) says it has launched its largest vehicle fleet modernization program to date, saying that by 2030 the group will invest more than €19 billion in new locomotives and trains.
DB made the announcement at the InnoTrans 2022 trade fair in Berlin, where the rail company also presented rolling stock exhibits showing what regional fleets and modern freight trains could soon look like.
“We are now investing in the trains of the future,” said DB CEO Dr. Richard Lutz. “With the record sum of more than 19 billion euros, we are creating the capacity for even higher demand. Modern vehicles not only make railways more climate-friendly, but also more reliable and user-friendly.
Among the exhibits was a two-level car prototype developed in collaboration with the Bavarian State and the Bavarian State Railways (BEG). The coach is designed to test new seating concepts for first and second class travel and innovative passenger information displays with several different types installed. The train has 5G mobile communications, special glass to improve mobile reception and three types of USB sockets.
Office cabins separated from the vehicle with a wall-mounted office space, and in contrast a spacious family area, are cited by DB as examples of how traveling on regional transport becomes even more comfortable and customers can even better use their time on board. Also in the field of long-distance transport, DB is expanding its ICE fleet with the new ICE L. DB plans three new ICE trains every month in 2023, and by 2030 this fleet will grow to around 450 trains.
“What started with innovative ideas and a vision will in future be experienced very closely by our travelers in everyday life,” says Ms. Evelyn Palla, Member of DB’s Board of Directors for Regional Transport. “Whether you are in the office cubicle or in the family compartment, with our new offer we guarantee you more comfort, more information and more quality. A train of ideas has become a real train of the future.
The freight train of the future that DB Cargo presented to InnoTrans is designed to be more climate-friendly than any currently in service – even counting those running on electrified routes. Freight wagons need to become more modular and extremely flexible, and the goal is for the digital automatic coupler – currently being tested – to become the new backbone of the freight train, not only speeding up the train formation operation, but also adding a new dimension to the on-rails supply chain by enabling power and live data monitoring capabilities. Thanks to the m2 freight wagon system developed by DB, wagons can be adapted more quickly to customer needs.
“The new m2 wagons can be used flexibly and modularly for different goods,” says Sigrid Nikutta, Board Member for Goods Transport at DB. “There is a wagon platform available in different lengths so that different structures can be placed on it for transport. If we combine this train with digital automatic couplers, it can be a decisive lever to move more goods to climate-friendly rail, which can then become limited in capacity.
Another novelty at InnoTrans was the DB Cargo twin-engine locomotive, which was presented for the first time and which can run on both green electricity and climate-friendly biofuel. They are used both over long distances and over shorter distances or in maneuvering operations.
DB says it is solving the future challenge of putting more trains on track while aiming to become more punctual and reliable through digitalization and new technologies. In its test train, the advanced TrainLab, DB showed how knowledge of 180 years of railway history is combined with the latest research. The TrainLab makes it possible, for example, to test cellphone-permeable glass, climate-friendly fuel and sensors for the digitalization of trains and rails.
“The mobility of the future is digital, convenient and climate-friendly,” says Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB Board Member for Digitization and Technology. “Thanks to modern innovations and technologies, we can set new standards for more capacity, quality and flexibility. It is about convincing more and more people and companies with a successful railway.
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